Food as Fuel: Surprising Energy Boosters From the Garden

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gardeningAthletes are always searching for foods to boost their performance, since so much of our performance and energy is based on what we eat. If you’re wondering what the newest trend in food as fuel is, the answer may surprise you. Echinacea has long been used as a health boost and remedy and beetroot is a common kitchen ingredient, but both foods are also used for athletic performance fuel now, too.

Even if you aren’t an athlete, you can still benefit from the performance benefits of including these ingredients in your smoothies every morning. Many people who don’t actively engage in high-demand athletic programs still use a daily smoothie to get their nutrients and energy for the day. It’s easy enough to use these foods once you have juiced or powdered them. Here’s what you need to know about beetroot and echinacea.

Echinacea: increases oxygen transport in your bloodstream.

Are you searching for a way to boost your endurance? Echinacea, traditionally taken in extract or supplement form as a health booster, increases your levels of a certain hormone called EPO. EPO regulates the production of your red blood cells, which actually affect how much endurance you have because they affect your oxygen transport. If your body can transport more oxygen, you can endure for longer and keep your energy level up. You may even notice a difference after taking echinacea for just two weeks.

Beetroot: increases speed and stamina during exercise.

When research measured how long it took runners to run 5k with and without beetroot supplements, they found a 41-second improvement in those who ate beetroot. The vegetable helps to increase your oxygen transport level just like echinacea and also reduces how much oxygen your muscles need to function at their best. This means that if you’re short of breath at the end of a race, your muscles may not seize up as much. Cyclists who consumed organic beetroot juice could cycle for longer and the placebo effect was not observed.

Incorporating both into your diet is easy.

You may be intimidated by the name of these two foods, but if you’re patient, you can juice beetroot to incorporate this vegetable into your smoothies or drink the juice directly. If you’re undergoing a 5 day juice fast, this can help you survive the last few days of exhaustion and fatigue that could otherwise result from missing nutrients in your diet. Echinacea is easy to find in extract form and incorporate into your smoothies. Greens powder may also contain one or both, and this powder works well because you can easily add powdered vegetables to a smoothie without having to process beetroot or echinacea plants yourself.

Whether or not you are an athlete, you can benefit from the recent discoveries of the health benefits of echinacea and beetroot. Improved endurance and speed will help you even if you’re just walking to work! Incorporating one or both of these ingredients into your smoothies will help you add these benefits to your day without having to get used to a whole new taste or meal.

Jessica Watts is a self-confessed health nut and mom of three. When she has free time, she enjoys blogging online about gardening, organic living, health and nutrition. She recommends that if you’re undergoing a 5 day juice fast, echinacea and beetroot can help you to overcome the fatigue due to fast.

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